Dental phobia, or fear of the dentist, is quite common. The fear can range from mild anxiety to full-blown panic. Dental phobias make people avoid going to the dentist. As a result, they delay dental treatment. This can cause long-term damage to their teeth.
Speak up about your fears
You know how you feel about your procedure. Tell your dentist. It’s helpful for them to know you’re anxious so they can keep your comfort in mind during treatment and talk to you about ways to calm your nerves.
If you’ve had a bad experience in the past, don’t assume that every dentist is the same. Try to find someone who will listen to your concerns and make sure you feel comfortable with them. Don’t be afraid to shop around for a dentist who makes you feel at ease. You can even ask friends and family for recommendations.
Don’t forget to bring up any anxiety you have over visiting the dentist. Your dentist needs to know if you’re nervous or scared so that they can make sure you’re comfortable and relaxed while you’re there. Working together can help you find ways to cope so you won’t be afraid to visit the dentist again.
Agree on a signal
If there is anything that bothers you during a procedure, be sure to speak up about it. Also, make sure that you agree on a signal with your dentist - this signal can be anything from raising your hand or a finger to tapping on the table. You can indicate this signal if you need a break or if you are feeling uncomfortable.
Take a trusted person with you
Being relaxed during your visit to the dentist is important. Having someone you trust with you can ease your nerves. They can help you relax by holding your hand or rubbing your back while you receive your treatment. They can also ask questions and take notes to help you remember the information your dentist shares with you about your dental health. If you’ve scheduled an appointment for your child, having a friend or relative come with you can be good for both you and your child. Your child will feel more at ease with someone they know with them, and you will be able to trust that they will remain calm and well-behaved throughout the visit.
Distractions are a helpful tool that you can use anywhere you go, including the dentist’s office. Some dentist offices have TVs for you to watch during your appointment, while others provide complimentary headphones or earplugs to block out the sounds around you and keep you focused on something else. It’s also a good idea to bring something to do, like a book to read or your smartphone, to distract yourself from the sounds of the dental office. Playing music can help as well.
Consider sedation dentistry
Many dentists offer sedation dentistry options to help you relax during your visits. These range from nitrous oxide, which is inhaled through the nose to help patients remain calm during procedures, to oral-conscious sedation, which relaxes you quickly with medication you take before your appointment. Talk to your dentist to see which one might be right for you.
Sedation dentistry eliminates tension during your procedure by calming your mind and body. Although you remain conscious and in control, you have little or no memory of your treatment. During IV sedation, you are fully asleep throughout the entire procedure. A local anesthetic is used, so you don’t feel any pain or discomfort at all during the procedure. After the procedure, you will rest until the sedative wears off completely. Your total recovery time is usually a few hours after the treatment. Since the effects of sedation last longer than what would be caused by a local anesthetic alone, you will need someone to drive you home after your appointment.
Visit AC Dentistry at 7350 Cahaba Valley Rd. #106, Birmingham, AL 35242, or call (205) 533-6799 for the best dental care.